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szdaily -> Overview
History
     2010-October-13  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Archaeological research shows that aborigines started to occupy this area of land as early as 6,700 years ago in the Neolithic Age. Shenzhen, as a settlement, dates back 1,673 years.

    Ancient Baiyue Tribes (Prehistory-214B.C.)

    In the Xia and Shang dynasties, Shenzhen was a base for the ancient sea-faring Baiyue tribe. Those who lived here were called the Nanyue Tribe, a southern branch of the Baiyue Tribe. They lived mainly by fishing with a little cultivation.

    Qing Prefecture (214B.C-331)

    In 214 B.C., Emperor Qinshihuang united China to become its first emperor. He set up three prefectures, Nanhai, Guilin and Xiangjun, in the area encompassing Guangdong and Guangxi. He banished 500,000 people from the central plains to the southern area to help development. Shenzhen was under the administration of Nanhai Prefecture at the time and was formally brought into China's territory. As a result, the area was influenced by culture from the central plains.

    Establishment of County (331-1573)

    In 331 A.D. in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Dongguan Prefecture was established to administer the six-county area that now covers Shenzhen, Dongguan and Hong Kong. The capital of the prefecture was in Nantou, Bao'an County.

    In 590 A.D. in the Sui Dynasty, Dongguan Prefecture was abolished and Bao'an County came under the administration of Nanhai Prefecture, the county seat being in what is now Nantou, Shenzhen. In 757 A.D. Bao'an County was renamed Dongguan County by the Tang Dynasty, and the county seat was moved to Dongguan. Meanwhile, the Tunmen Military Base was established at Nantou.

    During the Song Dynasty, Shenzhen became an important hub for maritime trade in the south of China. It was also famous for its salt and spices. In the Yuan Dynasty, pearls became another famous product of the area. The establishment of the Ming Dynasty turned a new page in Shenzhen's history. In 1394, Dongguan and Dapeng military bases were set up in the Shenzhen area. In 1565, the Nantou Naval Base was created on the Nanshan Peninsula. Deemed "the outpost of Humen and a protective screen for the provincial capital", the naval base was a monolithic military organization. It administered and influenced the land and water of a large area from Chaozhou in the east to Xiachuan in the west and Dayang in the south. In the early years of the Ming Dynasty, when Chinese fleets started sailing to Southeast Asia, sailors always prayed in the Tianhou Temple at Chiwan on the peninsula before setting out.

    With a history of more than 600 years, Nantou Ancient City was once an important site in the south of Guangdong Province and a political center in the Qing Dynasty.

    Xin'an Ancient Town (1573-1841)

    In 1573, a new county named Xin'an was established in the territory of today's Shenzhen and Hong Kong by enlarging the Dongguan Military Base, with the county seat located in Nantou. Salt, tea, spices and rice were the backbone of the new county's economy.

    At the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, the county's borders were changed to resist Zheng Chenggong's troops and supporters of the former Ming Dynasty. Two thirds of Xin'an County's territory was temporarily brought into Dongguan County. In 1669, Xin’an County was re-established and in 1684, the original borders were reinstated.

    Cession of Territory(1842-1898)

    The Treaty of Nanjing, which was a treaty agreed upon by China and Britain, was signed on July 24, 1842. Hong Kong Island was occupied by the British. On Jan.11, 1860, the Kowloon Peninsula was ceded to the British under The Convention of Peking and on April 21, 1898, another treaty led the Qing Government to lease the New Territories to Britain for 99 years. From that point on, 1,055.61 square kilometers of the total 3,076 square kilometers was separated from Xin'an County.

    Name Resumption (1913-1979)

    In 1913, Xin’an County resumed the name of Bao'an County to avoid confusion with Xin’an County in Henan Province. The county seat remained in Nantou.

    County Transfer (1938-1953)

    During the War of Resistance against Japan, Nantou was occupied by Japanese troops and so the county government temporarily moved to Dongguan County in 1938. In 1953, the Bao'an county seat moved eastward to the Shenzhen Township, 10 kilometers from Nantou. As the Guangzhou-Kowloon Railway runs through Shenzhen, more people lived there and industry and commerce prospered.

    The Establishment of the City (1979)

    In March 1979, the Central Government and the Guangdong Provincial Government decided to rename Bao'an County Shenzhen City, under the administration of Huiyang Prefecture and Guangdong Province. In November that year, the city was promoted to prefecture level directly governed by the province. In May 1980, Shenzhen was formally nominated as a "special economic zone" by the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council. In August that year, the Standing Committee of the NPC approved the establishment of a special economic zone in Shenzhen. In March 1981, Shenzhen gained the same status as Guangzhou to be a vice-provincial city. In November 1988, the State Council approved Shenzhen, along with some other major cities in the country, being listed as an independent entity of the province in the State development plan. It was given the rights of a provincial-level economic administration.

    In July 1992, the Shenzhen Municipal People's Congress, its Standing Committee and the Shenzhen Municipal Government were given the right to draft local laws and set local regulations by the Standing Committee of the NPC.

    Origin of Shenzhen's Name

    The name of Shenzhen first appeared in 1410 during the Ming Dynasty. Local people call the drains in paddy fields "zhen" or "chong". The name "Shenzhen" means "deep drains", because this is an area crisscrossed with rivers and streams, and there are deep drains in the paddy fields. Shenzhen became a township at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. Shenzhen is also called roc city. As a famous Chinese legend goes, long ago, a big roc - a gigantic bird of Eastern legend flew to the South China Sea and was attracted by the scenery and decided to settle down here, thus making the name of roc city.

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